[handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 May 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 06:37:16 -0500

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. You
can listen to this news online.

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*Welcome to Handiham World.*

*You can do it!  *

Today, just as we did last week,  we are going to begin with
Troubleshooting 101 as part of our initiative to help new ham radio
operators (and even some of us older ones) learn how to do some basic
troubleshooting for ourselves. Yes, it can be tempting to ask someone else
to do things for us.  This can become a bad habit when it keeps us from
learning new things, especially things that we could - with a bit of
practice - learn to do for ourselves.  Knowing these basic things can serve
us well in the future when no help is available.
*Troubleshooting 101*

Let's get to today's troubleshooting question:

*Question: I carry my HT everywhere, and recently I was outdoors when it
started to rain.  Luckily I was close to a picnic shelter and was able to
stay dry until the rain passed. It did get me thinking about what I would
do if my radio did get wet though.  Any ideas?*

It is summertime, and we do want to be outdoors, and naturally we want to
take ham radio along for the walk! Part of always carrying a radio is the
possibility that you - and the radio - will get wet. But there is wet and
then there is really soaked. The two are pretty different, but you are
probably going to want to act quickly in either case to protect the radio.

Recently I read a story in WIRED about how some really high percentage of
cell phone users drop their phones in the toilet.  I think it was something
like 25%! Unless you have a waterproof radio, you are probably not going to
be able to fish it out of the bowl in time to avoid damage.

Let's assume you have a typical HT that is not marketed as waterproof,
submersible, or even water-resistant. It can likely survive a bit of
surface moisture, such as getting caught in a rainstorm, as long as you act
quickly to get it out of the direct rainfall, power it off, and dry the
outside as quickly as possible. It might also be a good idea to remove the
battery. If the radio falls into the water, it is a different ballgame. As
soon as the radio begins to sink, water pressure increases and forces
moisture into the radio's case in a way that does not happen in a simple
rainstorm. That means that you have to act very quickly to get the radio
out of the water and remove the battery. The next step is to dry the
outside of the radio as quickly as possible, then (with the battery still
removed), place the radio and battery pack in a dry container with a
desiccant, sealing the container so that the moisture is drawn out of the
radio by the desiccant. Are you wondering what a desiccant is? I am sure
you have run across those little packets of silica gel that are sometimes
packed with electronic devices. They remove humidity that might damage the
electronics. If you don't have silica gel packets handy (most of us just
throw them away because they have a finite life anyway), you can put the
radio in a container with uncooked rice overnight. The rice will help to
draw moisture out of the electronics. When you dig the HT out of the rice
in the morning, put it on a nice, dry paper towel. Is there any sign of
moisture still on the towel? If so, you might need to repeat the rice
treatment. In any case, you will not be powering up the radio for days -
that means keeping the battery out. You want to make sure that the radio is
completely dry before putting the battery back in. If you can perform the
drying out procedures in an environment with already low humidity, that is
best. An air-conditioned, dehumidified house trumps a humid garage
workbench. I would avoid using a hair drier to try to heat the radio. You
do not want to add heat that can speed up chemical reactions or damage the
electronics or even melt the case. I would not want to try the radio for at
least a week so that I was darned sure all the water was out.

Let's consider the best plan of all: prevention. It is much better not to
have to dry out a wet radio, so we want to follow some basic procedures to
keep our electronics dry, rain or shine. If you take your HT everywhere,
always keep a small plastic bag in your pocket. The plastic bag can be used
to stow your electronics should you get caught in a downpour. Since I have
my little doggie Jasper with me when I am out walking, a dog waste bag does
the job of radio protector in an emergency. These bags come in little rolls
and are available anywhere pet supplies are sold, or you can just stuff a
zip-style plastic food bag into a pocket. If you are boating or in a wet
environment, you can just store the HT in a plastic bag when it is not in

You should also plan ahead, developing good habits when around water. Keep
your HT in a case that will keep it from falling out. If you keep it in a
pocket, be sure it is a pocket that is deep enough to keep it from working
its way out when you sit down. One danger of using pockets instead of a
belt clip and case is that you can forget your cell phone or HT in that
pocket and run it through the washing machine. Don't laugh - it happens! If
you do use pants pockets for your radio and phone, get in the habit of
quickly patting each pocket when changing clothes so that you will feel the
HT or phone and remember to remove it. At Dayton earlier this month I was
using the restroom in Hara Arena and there was some guy sitting in one of
the stalls having a phone conversation on his cell phone. Not only is this
kind of clueless socially, it is also the reason cell phones go for a swim
in the toilet. Never use your HT or phone in the bathroom, because the
bathroom has more water hazards than the golf course after a thunderstorm.
Similarly, it is best to keep the HT somewhere away from the kitchen
counter, another place where spills happen and are even expected.

Finally, there is the drenching in something other than plain water. I'm
afraid there is not much you can do about a radio that takes a salt water
swim or a hot coffee bath. If disaster happens, the procedure is the same:
remove from the liquid as quickly as possible while watching out for your
own safety, take out the battery, and dry out as quickly as possible with
absorbent towels on the outside and the dry rice treatment. Hopefully salt
has not penetrated the radio, but if it has there may not be much you can
do. The salt deposits left behind can become conductive in high humidity
conditions, causing shorts. I am not a fan of disassembling electronics to
give them a cleaning with distilled water or solvent, as that is a job for
trained bench technicians. Considering the cost of bench time, it is likely
that a salt water swim will mean it is cheaper to buy a new radio.
Similarly, a drenching with sugar-infused soft drinks can leave a real mess
of residue behind. If this mess gets onto circuit boards it can also absorb
moisture and cause shorts, even after the drying out process. It will also
gum up push buttons on the HT's keypad. The bottom line: Don't have your HT
anywhere near such possible spills in the first place. If one does occur,
follow the emergency procedure:

   1. Remove the radio as quickly as possible from the spill.
   2. Remove the battery.
   3. Blot the surface with a fresh paper towel or other absorbent cloth.
   4. Dry in a container of uncooked rice.

While your gooped-up radio is drying out, you can start shopping for a new
one.  It never hurts to be prepared for the possibility that your old HT is
down for the count.

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
*A dip in the pool*

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the question
pool, that is!

Today we are busting our brains with a question from the Extra Class pool:

E5C16 asks: *"In polar coordinates, what is the impedance of a circuit that
has an admittance of 7.09 millisiemens at 45 degrees?"*

Possible answers are:

A. 5.03 E-06 ohms at an angle of 45 degrees
B. 141 ohms at an angle of -45 degrees
C. 19,900 ohms at an angle of -45 degrees
D. 141 ohms at an angle of 45 degrees

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Why should I worry about this particular
question when the current question pool is only good until the end of June?"

The answer about why you should understand this question (and more
importantly the answer) is that it is exactly the same question, including
the question number, that appears in both the current pool AND that
brand-new pool!

We can't go into super-detail about how to work these out, but you can find
the process easily enough in the ARRL or Gordo books or in the Handiham
audio lecture series.

Briefly, here is the skinny:o Ohms at such and such an angle. If you have
forgotten what admittance is, it is simply the reciprocal of impedance. If
you don't know what impedance is, you need to go back and hit the books.
Anyway, here is how such a conversion works:

   - The absolute value of Z (the impedance) equals 1 over .00709 (which is
   the 7.09 milliseimens converted into seimens by moving the decimal point
   three places to the left. The "1 over" part comes from the fact that we are
   working with a reciprocal, which means we flip the numerator and the
   denominator to get "1 over some other number", which is a reciprocal.
   - With me so far?
   - Good; so now you just divide 1 by .00709 using your calculator. You
   get 141.0437 etc., etc., so you round that to 141 ohms.
   - You look at the question and the possible answers again. Hey, answers
   B & D each have 141 in them!  Now you have a 50-50 chance of guessing which
   one is right!
   - But the question specifies "...at 45 degrees", and we have done
   nothing with that number yet. We need to consider that phase angle "theta"
   equals zero degrees minus the 45 degrees we have been given. So zero minus
   45 equals minus 45 degrees.
   - Now we look at our two possible choices. Answer B is the one that says
   141 ohms at an angle of -45 degrees, while answer D says 141 ohms at an
   angle of 45 degrees. Because you have cleverly subtracted 45 from zero to
   get -45 degrees, you pick answer B, 141 ohms at an angle of -45 degrees.

Here is a little memory trick: Always remember that admittance questions
involve a reciprocal, you you are going to be dividing some small number
into one. It will be expressed as one over the other number. You need to
remember to convert to seimens by moving the decimal point. Then if the
angle you are given is positive, such as 45 degrees, the final answer will
likely be negative, such as -45 in this case. The reason for all this angle
stuff is that we are not dealing with direct current. We are dealing with
alternating current, which is always changing, so we have to pick a point
in its alternating cycle where our specifications can be listed
*Remote Base Health Report for 30 May 2012*

We have a website for the remote base software. You may check it out at:

*W0ZSW is on line.  Echolink is out of service on W0ZSW, but is available
for transmit and receive via the W4MQ software.

W0EQO is on line. *

Please check the latest operating tips on the remote base pages:

The link to the daily status update pages:

Our thanks to volunteer engineer Lyle Koehler, K0LR, for his help
maintaining the station databases and updates.

Letters will return when there is time available, following our Radio Camp
*This week @ HQ*

*Nancy and I will both be in meetings at Camp Courage on Wednesday, May 30.
*The phone is not likely to be answered, but please leave a voice mail
telling us the reason you are calling and your complete phone number with
area code. As we get ready for Radio Camp, we need to concentrate on camp
preparation. Requests for other services will be handled, but not given
priority due to our limited resources. I regret that I cannot respond to
all of the emails and phone calls in a more timely manner. If you have a
tech support question about the website or audio, please use email and not
the phone. Before contacting us, try to figure it out yourself by reading
the FAQ or Troubleshooting pages already provided.

*No e-letter during Radio Camp week! *In past years I have optimistically
predicted we would have a weekly e-letter from camp. This year I am going
to be realistic and just admit that there will not be time. The next
edition is scheduled for 13 June 2012, providing that time is available.
Camp runs from Saturday June 2 to Friday June 8. Both June 2 and 8 are
travel days and campers may not be available on the radio.

*During Radio Camp week, you are welcome to listen on the Handiham Echolink
net, and even ask about HF scheduling, but we cannot make schedules or
confirm them by telephone or email. *We do not have a posted operating
schedule. We will use our own callsigns or club call W0ZSW. Please don't
call us on the phone during camp week unless it is an emergency. It is hard
to convey to someone who has not been to camp how difficult it is to try to
get a phone call during our classes. Please hold your calls until after
camp. The same goes for emails. Camp is a very busy time and so much is
going on that email messages will likely not come anywhere close to being
read, let alone answered.

*We are working on the June 2012  DAISY format audio digest for our blind
members.* Check out the May edition in the members section.  Members using
NLS digital cartridges may receive the digest by Free Matter postal
mail. *Because
of Radio Camp starting this week, we are going to be late with these audio

*Ken Padgitt, W9MJY, has completed the Doctor is IN column for June, which
will be included in the June QST Daisy digest for our blind members.
Thanks, Ken!*

*Bob Zeida, N1BLF, will soon begin recording the June Worldradio & CQ audio
for our blind members. He will be "tracking" the audio starting with the
June digest, so that it will provide more navigational functionality in the
Library of Congress digital talking book player. Our thanks to Bob for all
his good work!*

*May QST, CQ, and Worldradio audio digests* are now also ready for our
blind members who do not have computers, also in DAISY format, playable in
your Library of Congress digital player.  Handiham members who use these
players and who would prefer to receive a copy of the monthly audio digests
on the special Library of Congress digital cartridge should send a blank
cartridge to us in a cartridge mailer (no envelopes, please), so that we
can place the files on it and return it to you via free matter postal
mail.  Your callsign should be on both the cartridge and the mailer so that
we can make sure we know who it's from. Blank cartridges and mailers are
available from APH, the American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Catalog Number: 1-02610-00, Price: $12.00

Digital Talking Book Cartridge Mailer Catalog Number: 1-02611-00, Price:

Order Toll-Free: (800) 223-1839.

The Library of Congress NLS has a list of vendors for the digital

May QST audio digest is now also ready for our blind members in DAISY
format, as a digital download for your computer DAISY player or to place on
your digital cartridge or other portable DAISY player. Visit the DAISY
section on the website after logging in.
*Tonight is EchoLink net night.*

*No ham radio license? No radio? No problem! Listen to our net on line
using your computer or tablet/smartphone at 11:00 AM Central Time daily -
Everyone welcome!* <http://www.radioreference.com/apps/audio/?feedId=9593>

The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time,
which translates to 00:30 GMT Thursday morning.

The 11:00 daily net will be heard at 16:00 GMT.

The following EchoLink nodes are always connected to the Handiham

HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)
NX0P-R, node 513917
KA0PQW-R, node 267582
KA0PQW-L, node 538131
N0BVE-R, node 89680
W0EQO-R, node 309436

Other ways to connect:

IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

More information about repeaters and nodes may be found at

A big THANK YOU to all of our net volunteers who keep things running so
*Stay in touch!*

Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone number changes, or
email address changes so that we can continue to stay in touch with you.
You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or call her at
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call

Handiham Manager Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511.

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us.

Answers to many questions about radios, Echolink, nets, and the Remote Base
stations are all at www.handiham.org.

*Supporting Handihams - 2012. *

Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage
Center's secure website. It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you
need to use the pull-down menu to designate your gift to the Handiham

Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:

Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down Designation
menu to select "Handi-Hams".

Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift is a
tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information. This
would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example.

We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year
due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure
that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and
we plan to continue doing just that in 2012.

Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Benefits of membership:


Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we
need you to keep our program strong! You will have several choices when you

Join at the usual $12 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal date is
the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends for one

Join for three years at $36.

Lifetime membership is $120.

If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable sponsored

Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities.

Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. Your support is
critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532
or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System.

It's perfect for your club program, too! The video tells your club about
how we got started, the Radio Camps, and working with hams who have

Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free. -- Help us get new hams on the air.

Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date
with ham radio news.

You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org.
Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at




Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!
Manager, Courage Handiham System
Reach me by email at:
patt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:

*ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide.
Please contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to
help you fill out the paperwork!*

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
available to everyone free of charge. Please email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc.
Include your old email address and your new address.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422

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  • » [handiham-world] Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 30 May 2012 - Patrick Tice